FLOSS Weekly 52

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FLOSS Weekly
Episode 52

FLOSS Weekly 52: Casey Reas and Ben Fry on Processing.org

Processing, an open source programming language and environment for programming images, animation, and interactions.


Ben Fry and Casey Reas for Processing


Processing was founded by Ben Fry and Casey Reas in 2001 while both were John Maeda's students at the MIT Media Lab. Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain. Ben and Casey wrote Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists (2007, MIT Press.)

Ben Fry

Ben Fry received his doctoral degree from the Aesthetics + Computation Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, where his research focused on combining fields such as Computer Science, Statistics, Graphic Design, and Data Visualization as a means for understanding complex data. After completing his thesis, he spent time developing tools for visualization of genetic data as a postdoc with Eric Lander at the Eli & Edyth Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard. During the 2006-2007 school year, Ben was the Nierenberg Chair of Design for the Carnegie Mellon School of Design. At the end of 2007, he finished Visualizing Data for O'Reilly. He currently works as a designer in Cambridge, MA.

His personal work has shown at the Whitney Biennial in 2002 and the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial in 2003. Other pieces have appeared in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria and in the films Minority Report and The Hulk. His information graphics have also illustrated articles for the journal Nature, New York Magazine, Seed, and Communications of the ACM.

Casey Reas

Casey Reas lives and works in Los Angeles. He is an associate professor and chair of the department of Design | Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Reas has exhibited his work internationally at institutions including Laboral (Gijon, Spain), The Cooper-Hewitt Museum (New York), and the National Museum for Art, Architecture, and Design (Oslo), at independent venues including Telic Arts Exchange (Los Angeles), <>TAG (The Hague), and Ego Park (Oakland), at galleries including Bitforms (New York), BANK (Los Angeles), and [DAM] Berlin, and at festivals including Sonar (Barcelona), Ars Electronica (Linz), and Microwave (Hong Kong).

In 2007 Reas organized OPEN: Open Source Sound, Image, and Electronics, a two-day symposium and workshop series on the theme of FLOSS in the University of California. OPEN was sponsored by the UC Digital Arts Research Network (UC DARnet).

Potential Questions

  • What is new in Processing 1.0?
  • Who uses Processing?
  • Why is it called "Processing"?
  • What is the future of Processing?
  • What is a software sketchbook? What do you mean by sketches?
  • Why Java? Or why such a Java-esque programming language?
  • Dude, Where's the Timeline? This Sucks┘ / Awesome! A Flash Killer!

External Links

Official Website


Additional Questions from the audience

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Production Notes

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